Monday, November 29, 2010

Tron

Tron
last seen online @ YouTube
11.28.10

So there I was, chatting with John online last week about something or other, when he mentions that Sue had never seen the original Tron. So while we're chatting, I do some poking around the Net to
see where it might be available, and wouldn't you know it, someone just put it up on YouTube days ago. I figured (and still do) that it probably won't stay up for long, so I'd probably better watch it while I can so I can be prepared for the sequel next month. It had been a long time since I had last seen Tron, and for some reason I remembered it as being a more complex story than it actually is. It's not, but that's okay.

One thing I noticed for the first time while watching it last night was how evocative it is, in places, of Star Wars. David Warner's cyber-avatar character has a Vader-like helmet, and he commands a vessel that's long and massive, like a Star Destroyer. Indeed, in the scene where his ship pursues Tron and his allies, riding that little ship on that beam thing, it feels a lot like the famous opening scene of A New Hope. Warner's relationship to the MCP feels like that between Vader and the Emperor. And when Tron defeats the MCP by exploiting an oh-so-convenient weakness in
its design, it's not unlike Luke firing the torpedoes into the Death Star's shaft. Maybe all of this is obvious, but honestly, I never thought of it before now.

I still like the look of Tron, even if it's considered dated now. Some moments are more obviously computer-animated than others, and don't quite feel in sync with the rest of the movie, but that doesn't bother me much. I would imagine, from what little I've chosen to see of Tron: Legacy, that it was probably tricky to keep the visual consistency of the original while making it look modern. (With a movie like Tron: Legacy - i.e., a big, blockbuster action-adventure film - I make it a habit to avoid too much advance discussion and interviews and images and other promotional stuff as possible because I want to be surprised. This isn't always the case - I followed the production of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek very closely, for example - but most of the time I prefer not knowing stuff ahead of time. With Oscar contenders, it's different. I need to know about films like Black Swan or The King's Speech or The Fighter because most of the time they're harder to quantify. I'll probably enjoy Tron: Legacy without knowing every last detail about its production and story upfront. Something as unusual as, say, Black Swan, is different, which is why I wanna learn about it ahead of time. I hope that makes sense.)

Remember the Tron arcade game? I always liked how it was four games in one, and you could choose what order to play them in. The light cycle game was tricky for me because of the bigger joystick - I could never develop the speed necessary to beat the computer on a consistent basis. The tanks were always slow, but I could handle them. The bugs and the MCP cone boards were the easiest ones. Looking at a video of the game today, I'm kinda surprised at how primitive the game design was. I remember it looking cooler than it actually was, but then I was a kid.

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